MH@H Book Reviews

Book Review: Writing to Heal the Pain

Book cover: Writing to Heal the Pain by Mateja Klaric

Writing to Heal the Pain: Stories & Poems by Mateja Klaric is a collection of mostly essays and some poems.  It takes the reader along on the author’s attempts to find healing after having her career stolen away from her in a way that left her with anxiety and PTSD.

The author explains that writing was the tool she used to survive a killer curve cannonball that shattered her career in TV, radio, and journalism.  All of a sudden, she was fired without justification.  She chose to go public, which resulted in her being blacklisted across her industry.  She went to court and after 2 1/2 years she won, but in the end found herself still without income and close to bankruptcy.

She experienced thoughts of suicide, but support came from unexpected sources.  In “How to Sack Properly – The Smart Manager’s Guide”, she writes: “Some of the targets might commit suicide. Think of this as collateral damage and brush it off. Never forget, targets are inferior and thus less than humans. You owe them nothing.”

After the implosion of her career, she was left with nothing.  “Who are you when you don’t have a job, a purpose, a calling, a means to make a living? You turn into nobody and you are being treated accordingly.”

When she began sending out job applications, she was ignored or received nasty remarks.  Friends weren’t helpful either, and she was met with remarks suggesting that she’d be just fine.  She faced classic victim-blaming, as many people ended up blaming her for her situation.  She was also ghosted and shunned.

The author writes about how difficult it was looking for a job when she was over 45 and had no references from her work that lasted more than a decade.

She struggled with the loss of her established identity as well as the loss of income.  She writes: “I’ve lost my identity six years ago, and I still haven’t found it. This wouldn’t bother me much if it weren’t for the world that we live in. And this world demands identities. It has to be clear for each and every one of us who we are and what we do.”

She explains that writing was an important step in cleaning out the initial wounds.  It was also a way to try to seek out an income.  She has tried strategies that many bloggers will have some familiarity with, such as a donation button on her website, Patreon, Medium, and self-publishing.

In one of the poems, she writes:

“As if there was a hole
where my chest used to be,
that’s how it feels.”

The author’s pain oozes out of the book.  Many of the essays were first published a few years ago, and there is a rawness to them.

I felt a connection with this book immediately.  While I wasn’t fired, I faced workplace bullying and subsequent blacklisting.  A lot of the hurt and damage the author described were things that I experienced to some extent myself.  Her story shows how hard it is to rebuild after having so much stripped away.  This is a poignant example of just how hard it can be for writers to try to support themselves online through their writing.

It saddens me that people are faced with challenges like this.  While she pursued a court challenge and won, it changed nothing in a material sense.  People deserve better than this.

Writing to Heal the Pain: Stories & Poems is available on Amazon.

I received a reviewer copy of this book from NetGalley.

You can find my other book reviews here.

book cover: Managing the Depression Puzzle, Second Edition, by Ashley L. Peterson

Managing the Depression Puzzle takes a holistic look at the different potential pieces that might fit into your unique depression puzzle. The revised and expanded 2nd edition is now available on Amazon.

For other books by Ashley L. Peterson, visit the Mental Health @ Home Books page.

This post contains affiliate links.

12 thoughts on “Book Review: Writing to Heal the Pain”

  1. I think just her story alone is empowering and inspiring. “Who are you when you don’t have a job, a purpose, a calling, a means to make a living?” This is something I can relate to, and it’s painful to deal with, it can become a vicious downhill cycle with depression and anxiety on top. I agree with you there on how she, and others, deserve better than such treatment, too. Sounds like an interesting read, thanks for sharing!
    Caz xx

  2. That is so sad!! This is the sort of case my dad takes on regularly: libel, slander, discrimination, loss of reputation, etc. I’m glad she went to court, but sad that it didn’t help her out more than it did. Blacklisting is horrible and should never happen. I feel sad for what she’s been through!!

  3. This was no doubt a very sad story. My goodness, to have a job in media one moment, and blacklisted the next. I can understand how taxing this whole situation would make someone feel.
    Excellent review and another book added to my list! Thank you!

  4. This sounds like an incredibly shocking and painful experience. I wonder if this type of discriminatory behavior in the workplace is actually fairly common, but people are only now beginning to speak out about it?

  5. Same. And there are countless others who choose to remain silent for fear of further recrimination and loss of dignity. Thanks for sharing,

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